Sorry, I didn't look here previously, since this is not my area of the country. To find a local LL forum, try searching for REIA (Real Estate Investors Association), then look for a local link. This group meets once a month and discusses local LL issues, new state laws, and the like. It will let you network with local LLs in your area, some of whom may agree to mentor or help you along the way.
Personally, I got started when I got married. Suddenly we had two houses and only needed one to live in. I thought it would be easy to just rent one out. BOY, was I wrong. I made a lot of mistakes the first few years. The biggest one was not screening those tenants well enough. (You can never screen them too well.) My next big mistake was listening to all the stories tenants tell you. They tell you some doosies! Don't listen to any stories or feel sorry for them. Above all, LLing is a business. You must keep your feelings and personal life out of it. Treat it just like any other business. They'll tell you stories so you'll feel bad for them and not want to enforce your agreement or evict them. Don't do it. It is a business. Your mortgage company, insurance company, or the county tax auditor wouldn't listen to those excuses; neither should you.
Over the years I picked up more SFH and duplexes (I prefer not to do apt. buildings - whole different set of problems with those.) I started managing property for others. Tenants have paid for our houses and we have gained the equity. Just like it is supposed to work. I still have problem from time to time, but you learn to roll with the punches and make do.
As you go, develop a list of trusted contractors who will repair your places. Even if you are very handy, you can't do it all yourself. Especially, if you have more than one vacant, or the one that is vacany needs multiple repairs to get it re-rented. Once these contractors see that you will call them regularly and reccommend them to other LLs, they give you good service at fair prices. What more could you want from a contractor? Good luck.